Problems that Cannot be Solved

August 30, 2013

in Communication, Her Needs, Series, YOU4HER

Some marriage problems can’t be solved.

© Valigursky |

The first time I heard that I rejected it. The second time I heard it I rejected it. I still don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it as fact. (It should be noted manipulating or bullying your spouse into pretending the problem has gone away doesn’t mean it’s been solved.) Sometimes a difference of opinion, or a difference of personality, makes it impossible to agree on things. If it’s not a matter of sin, then the difference doesn’t say anything bad about either of you; it’s just how you each are.

A classic example of this is the wife who doesn’t like how her husband drives. He’s not breaking the law, and doesn’t get in accidents, but his aggressive driving makes her feel uncomfortable – or even terrified. Another common example is one spouse wants more sex than the other (by the way, about 25% of the time it’s the wife who wants more). I’m not talking about frequent refusal here, rather something better than starvation but short of well feed.

When you hit problems that can’t be solved, how you deal with it can make your wife feel good about or bad about you. You need to figure out how to give in on some of these issues without making yourself feel wronged. Work to “get your way” on the issues that really matter to you, while being willing to go with her way on others. If you both feel strongly, maybe you each get your way some of the time.

The two of you should also think about what not getting your way will mean to each of. If your driving causes her real stress, not getting her way is harmful to her. Choosing to drive less aggressively when she is in the car will be a huge blessing to her. One of you being sexually deprived is also harmful, and finding a way to provide more sex of some sort would be a great blessing.

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I really have to disagree. The whole concept of dying to yourself for the benefit of the other, means that everything CAN be solvable. In some cases it may not be compromise. It maybe one person completely conceding and no longer dwelling on it. That's what dying to yourself. Some one who has truly died to themselves has given up all claim to their preference--they're dead. Sure, it might be hard to do that, but it's certainly possible. It's really just a matter of do I love myself more, or my spouse.

With the case of driving, you do not HAVE to drive aggressively. There's is nothing that makes it impossible to be more cautious, just your preference and pride that says, I can do what I want. So stop it. Defer to wife and don't fight a stupid battle.

Paul, you really should know better...

doingmybest 1 Like

Many things can't be solved in this life. "Dying" to yourself doors not mean giving up all desires to the preference of a spouse, its intended to giving our will to God. That in itself can become an unsolvable difference in a marriage.


I would add that some marriages shouldn't be saved. Evil is very real and very much alive in the hearts of far to many  human beings who become either a husband or a wife. Additionally, there is the ugly fact that there are many who claim the name Christian and are, in fact, wicked. A marriage to such a one as this is not easily identified or ended because an evil heart, is, above all, manipulative and cunning. A friend was recently remarried and commented to me that she had no idea how evil her previous spouse was until she met the true-hearted man she married. She said, "I used to thow the marriage help books across the room in frustration because they didn't work with him."

I've also been there and done that and have the bloody t-shirt. "Moses permitted divorce because your hearts are hard..." "I will remove remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh..."

Marriage help can work for those who have a heart of flesh, but not for those with a heart of stone.

TheGenerousHusband moderator 1 Like

@Eleutheros Even a heart of stone can be changed occasionally, but it is not the norm.

I think we are called to stay as long as we can do so safely. The trick is how we define safety, because it goes beyond just not getting beat up. 

All that said, I think marriage is a great way to reveal someone's heart. I see men and women who look like "good Christians" until you look at how they treat their spouse. If you do not love your spouse, who you have seen, how can you love God? 


It's interesting to me that you use driving habits as an example.  That's probably the biggest trigger for me in getting me defensive for a fight--the way she criticizes my driving by how she tenses up or screams or just tries to tell me how to drive or what I'm doing wrong no matter how much or how little is going on around me.  I don't break the law, haven't been in an accident in the entire 12 years we've been married, and the one I was in before we got married involved a guy who was driving so fast he spun our car 180 degrees in a 25 mph residential street with his brakes on.  Anything that happens around us on the road makes her gasp and brace for impact.  A large truck trying to pass us before we merge onto the highway it's on will make her scream as if we're being run off the road.  "Look out.  That car is going to pull onto this street in front of you!" is a warning she thinks I need or I'm going to plow right through the car every time.  On the rare times when people have nearly hit us (and she wasn't able to blame it on my lack of foresight) she actually has complimented my driving saying "I wouldn't have been able to swerve that fast to avoid a collision.  That was pretty amazing."  But it's been so long since I've had to test my reaction skills (I try to keep out of situations that might require it) that she forgets she ever trusted me.  I really don't have much room for improvement as far as the safety of my driving.

I've begged her to take over the driving for the family since she feels safe enough behind the wheel herself and I don't need to be the driver to feel assured of my masculinity.  I just want peace in the car, and I'm at peace trusting her, and she would be at peace not having to trust me.  But she won't have it.  She doesn't enjoy driving more than she has to. And she said if I stopped driving with her in the car, she'd insist I can't drive with the kids in the car, either.  (I about demanded she/we get counseling over that statement alone.)  And I think if she were driving while I was riding shotgun, it would be a constant reminder to her that her fears have altered her life.

So much of her life is dominated by fear.  It radiates into every aspect of our marriage and shows up as her needing control often as not.  She knows about it, admits it, has asked for grace for it, and I've given it, but I've never seen or heard her say what she's doing to confront her fears.  That's a problem I'd like to get solved.  Sorry this was so long, but it was therapeutic for me. :)


@1980BC I had to smile while reading your description of your wife's reaction, because I know I've been guilty of that myself.  Often times, my foot comes up onto the dashboard, to brace myself and to simulate stepping on the brake, and it is usually accompanied by a sharp intake of breath.

I'm sure I've heard that women actually "see" differently then men.  It had something to do with their depth perception.  Men have better depth perception and he realizes the space between vehicle, where as to the woman, the vehicles seem closer then they actually are, or something like that, and so it feels like you are about ready to run right into the car in front of you.  (I believe it was Gary Smalley that I heard that bit of information from.)  If this is true, I don't think there's much "help" you can get in that aspect.

I have come to realize how it undermines my husband and shows a lack of respect by my comments, so I've been working on keeping silent, specifically on the "how to's" of his driving.  Lot's of praying has helped.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@janna94 @1980BC Men as a group do score higher in spacial relations than women. 

I often make tight turns in parking lots, missing other cars by small amounts. I know where my bumper is, and where the other cars are, and I have never hit another car. However, my wife often holds her breath because it looks to her like we are going to hit. I understand that is it no her failure to rust me, but her reacting to what her eyes tell her. She has learned to trust me, and I usually cut it less close for her sake.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@1980BC It is a very common issue in marriages, but it sounds like you have it a lot worse than most. 

From what you said, her fear is completely unfounded, and while she would not agree I would say it has nothing at all to do with you. As it will likely only get worse with age, I would urge you to push for getting help with this ASAP. She needs to find the root of her fear and deal with it.

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